Everybody’s been waiting to see what Google’s working on in health care. We may get a look soon: The Cleveland Clinic said yesterday it’s launching a pilot program with Internet-search giant Google.
It sounds like they’ll be putting the personal health records Cleveland Clinic’s already created for its patients into an online system created by Google. That way, patients wouldn’t have to carry files or notes with them whenever they go outside the Cleveland Clinic system for treatment.
“From a patient perspective, they no longer have to remember all that information, write it down on a piece of paper and keep it with them,” C. Martin Harris, chief information officer for Cleveland Clinic, told the WSJ. Many patients are retirees who spend several months of the year in Florida or Arizona, often out of reach of the Cleveland Clinic’s internal medical records, Harris told the NYT.
The profiles will be protected by the same password required to use other Google services such as email, according to the AP. The pilot program will only be for a few thousand patients, and will be invitation only.
Microsoft’s been working on its own health tools, and insurers have also been trying to figure out how to use the Internet to give patients more control of their health records. Last fall, Aetna CEO Ron Williams pointed to his company’s online efforts and called the Google and Microsoft projects “vaporware.”
The big concern floating around these projects is privacy. Just yesterday, a research group called the World Privacy Forum released a report that pointed out that HIPAA — the federal law that put privacy rules in place for medical information — applies only to certain entities, such as health-care providers and insurance companies.
“Just because it’s medical information, consumers assume that it’s protected under federal law; that’s not the case,” the group’s CEO told the WSJ.
Category: Electronic Medical Records